It’s beginning to look a lot like ski season. Baldy’s slopes are clearly delineated in delightful winter white, the forecast this week looks wonderfully snowy (more than a foot of snow expected!), and anticipation fills the air. In just a week, at 9 a.m. on Thursday, November 23, the lifts at the base of River Run and Dollar will spring into action, carrying the lucky first skiers and boarders to the start of what is sure to be an amazing year. This year, Sun Valley celebrates its 82nd season as America’s premiere destination ski resort...
Skiing & Riding
A favorite local tradition continues on Sunday, March 6, when the 60th annual Kindercup downhill race returns to Dollar Mountain. Hosted by the local Papoose Club in partnership with the Sun Valley Company Race Department and the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, this is a free community event that rates off the charts on the adorable and enjoyment meters.
Every March, hundreds of local children take to the slopes of Dollar Mountain to test their mettle – and have a great time – at the Kindercup Race
Open to young skiers and snowboarders between the ages of 3 and 12, the races begin at 10:15 a.m. and run down the face of Dollar Mountain. The event is always a feast for the eyes. Racers are encouraged to dress in costumes and there is always a riot of brightly colored tutus, ornamental helmet covers (think unicorns and Mohawks), and getups from Star Wars to dinosaurs on the slopes. “Skier dress up is encouraged and will be admired,” according to organizers. Hundreds of children participate in this race.
My children all competed in many Kindercup races over the years and this family-friendly community day at Dollar holds wonderful memories. Much of the challenge of the morning is spent keeping children in sight and waiting patiently at the top of the course where they make snow angels, dig around, and eat snow, as children are apt to do. Then, when it is their turn to enter the starting gate, watching a child challenge him or herself on the course is memory-making, too. The determination on all the little faces as they await the whistle is priceless. When my son first competed at the age of three, we went through the course together with him on a racer-chaser. I think we missed a few gates, but he thought he was the best skier in the world. The enthusiastic crowd makes every child feel this way as cowbells clank and shouts ring out up and down the length of the course.
Costumes are a big part of the tradition of Kindercup and add to the merriment
Nearly every parent in the Wood River Valley has similar memories of this wonderful introduction to a sport that is so important to the local culture. It is a true rite of passage for Sun Valley kiddos to wear a bib, get out there with all their friends, and give racing a try. This is the “big race” of the year for the little ones and everyone turns out to cheer on the future Olympians. And though it is primarily a fun event, there is an award ceremony for the top three racers in each category. Even the youngest athletes love stepping proudly onto the podium!
You never know which three year old speed demon on the course is bound for greatness. Many of the top Sun Valley ski and snowboard royalty ran their first gates in this very race. Olympic Gold Medalist Picabo Street once won here as did X-Games superstars Zach and Reggie Crist.
If you would like to glimpse the future of racing, or just want to enjoy a relaxing and colorful time at Dollar Mountain, grab a seat on the terrace and appreciate the mayhem! Kindercup almost always falls on a beautiful spring day, filled with bluebird skies and bright sunshine. The race morning usually blurs seamlessly into a delicious lunch at Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge and an afternoon beer or two as you turn your face to the sun while the kids continue to rip around the slopes.
The Kindercup is definitely about the love for ski racing but it’s also about friendship, community, and passing on a love for mountain culture
It’s not too late to sign up, either. Organizers suggest participants register online at KinderCup Online Registration.
Kindercup is one of the highlights of the Sun Valley winter season and is a reminder of what the joy of skiing and riding is really all about. Come on out and cheer the racers. Their enthusiasm is contagious!
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